First off, welcome to HW! I'm going to try to keep this brief, as I am having a horrible pain day & I can't read/look at the computer for more than a couple of minutes. My pain is behind & around my eye, so reading is painful on a good day, but on a bad day like today... Anyways, I have a Medtronics Restore Ultra neurostimulator. In my case, the battery is located in my chest, just under my collar bone, and the leads are in my face just above and below the eye. I've had my stim for just over 3 yrs now.
Like the others have said, whether or not your trial is successful is something that is very hard to predict. That's why they do a trial before placing the permanent implant. It is a highly individualized device. Two people who have the exact same injuries and both underwent a neurostim trial may have drastically different opinions about
whether or not the trial was "successful." Of course, if the stim doesn't provide significant relief, there is no point in implanting the permanent device. Likewise, one person may not like the feeling of the stimulator (it's a tingling type feeling), but the second person will. "Significant relief" is also a relative term, as for one person that might mean they want the permanent implant done only if they get 70% relief or better, while another person might be satisfied with only a 20% improvement.
My trial was of 7 days duration. My permanent implant was put in on day 7. In other words, my trial was "successful," and at the end of the trial I went straight to the OR, where they took out the temporary leads, and implanted the permanent device. I know that some doctors do the trial while the patient is awake, so that they can give feedback. However, both my trial surgery and implant surgery were done under general anesthesia. Once I was awake after surgery, I worked with my Medtronics rep in the recovery room, and he programed my stimulator.
I also had trouble with insurance coverage. My trial was canceled the day before not once, but twice. The first time was because my insurance denied it & didn't notify my doctor until last minute, and the second time was because the hospital where the surgery was supposed to be done had recently changed their policy and no longer accepted my insurance. I had to fight for a good 8 - 10 mo before I got insurance approval for my stimulator (both the trial & the permanent implant). I finally ended up having to sit down face-to-face with a special board of appeals at my insurance company (the highest level of appeal possible before going to my state insurance commissioner). I felt like I was on trial, but after meeting with them, they did finally approve my surgery.
Anyways, I hope that this helps some!
Oh, and I think that it is important to note that even though the stimulator helps my pain some, for me there are a lot of limitations, and I still need to take pain meds. Many people who have a stimulator still continue to take meds after the implant. You may be able to reduce your dosage some, but you will not necessarily be able to get by med-free. Some doctors claim that you will be able to get off your meds right away & stay off of them. Again, like everything else, it really depends on the individual. Any doctor that tells you otherwise, I would stay away from. There really is no "typical patient" when it comes to stimulators.
Post Edited (skeye) : 8/22/2013 9:26:51 PM (GMT-6)